Quick Links: Dudeology #2: Combining Genres

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I have noticed that there seem to be a lot more authors mixing genres. Just check on the Amazon subcategories when you try and upload your book! I think it is a good thing, that increases creativity.  Steven Pressfield explains why combining genres can be a good thing, and he is using one of my favorite movies The Big Lebowski

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Dudeology #2: Combining Genres

By STEVEN PRESSFIELD | Published: JULY 6, 2016

The Dude abides

The Dude abides

We were talking last week about The Big Lebowski being a film in the Private Eye genre. But what really makes Lebowski so inventive and so interesting is it’s a mixedgenre. It’s a Slacker/Stoner tale (like Dazed and Confused, Go, Clerks, or any Cheech and Chong movie) conceived, structured, and executed as a Detective Story.

What does this mean for you and me as writers?
It means that mixing genres is one of the most canny and fun tricks we can pull to come up with something new and fresh and exciting.

Mix the Private Detective genre with Sci-Fi and you get Blade Runner.

Combine it with a Geezer Pic and you get The Late Show, starring Art Carney and Lily Tomlin.

Blend it with historical fiction and you get The Name of the Rose.

But let’s dig a little deeper into The Big Lebowski. The concept of the film is this:

 

Let’s tell a story that hits all the beats [conventions] of a Sam Spade/Philip Marlowe Private Eye Story, but instead of having a hard-bitten detective as the hero we’ll have a sweet, lovable stoner.

 

How does that pay off for the writers, Joel and Ethan Coen? It pays off because this simple creative twist—stoner instead of film-noir private eye—makes every character and line of dialogue feel original and inventive. Each scene gives the filmmakers an angle to make a fresh point about America, about popular culture, about how things have changed in the past generation or two.

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